And while Prime Minister Modi told women in Nagaur in Rajasthan of ‘Naamdar’ and ‘Kaamdar’ and his ‘Mother’s Chula’, his External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was telling the world that India will not have bilateral talks with Pakistan or attend the Saarc summit in that country till terror ends, that there was no link between Kartarpur corridor and talks with Pakistan.

By then, the ground-breaking ceremony for the Kartarpur corridor in India was done with and the one on the Pakistan side was readying to be over with. An Indian delegation was on its way and Union Minister Harsimran Kaur was part of the team heading for Kartarpur Sahib, saying that it was a prayer come true, thanks to Guru Nanak, who lived his first 18 years in Kartarpur.

The SAD leader should not be such a thankless person. But for Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, she wouldn’t be thanking Guru Nanak. Sidhu is staking his very ‘Indian-identity’ on this initiative and he deserves credit as well as praise. Sikh politicians should sink their differences and unite to hail the opening of the “faith corridor.”

For, at times when nations are not in speaking mode, it is the individual who steps in to fill in the gap. Whether Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan turns out to be villain in disguise or a genuine peacemaker, only the future will tell but as of now he’s answering to the prayers of millions, spiritually as well with a concrete initiative, and Navjot Singh Sidhu deserves thanks as much as Guru Nanak.

India should be glad that the British left cricket behind to bat for both India and Pakistan after the bloody Partition. And Navjot Singh bats for India if Imran Khan bowls for Pakistan, let’s be clear on that. Nobody can and should doubt Navjot’s India-credentials. Navjot Singh Sidhu is as much a patriot as Naman or Nawaz or Norma with an Aadhaar card.

Sushma Swaraj may speak of the “big picture” and say that Kartarpur is not in it but millions and millions of Indians see in the Kartarpur corridor the route to dialogue and baby-steps to peace. A resumption of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan will be the icing on the cake. The UAE is a good venue but there are enough number of electric grounds in India and Pakistan to bat and bowl in peace.

Swaraj will not be contesting general elections 2019 and Pakistanis will miss her comforting tweets especially those Pakistanis with a hole in the heart but hopefully the Kartarpur corridor will open the way to millions of hearts on both sides of the border. If anything is going to bring Pakistan and India closer, it will be people-to-people contacts.

That the Sikhs are taking the initiative is exhilarating news. Sikhs are a hardy people with patriotism written in their dna. Throughout their history they have always come to the rescue of India and Indians and it cannot be any different now. There might be differences between Navjot and Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh but without doubt the Congress is solidly behind the Kartarpur corridor initiative.

The corridor is proof that Congress has not allowed its Opposition status to stop thinking of how it can help cement ties with neighbours. With its years of experience ruling India, Congress understands the Indo-Pak dynamics better than the BJP, which in the last four and a half years of rule has not covered itself with glory in dealing with neighbours.

Nobody is asking anybody to trust Pakistan blindly, the rulers of that nation have always conspired to betray but what stops a rising India to grab at every straw. Defending the borders is one thing, drumming up calm to cross borders is another thing. Individuals like Navjot Singh Sidhu can only contribute their mite as every Indian should but, ultimately, it will be left to the Government of India to tame the ruffian, with a shake of hands and talks.

That is the ‘Big Picture’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be looking at even at this late stage when his voice is breaking. A hoarse cry for peace could be the beginning of a legacy he leaves behind whether he wins or loses 2019. Navjot’s prayer for dialogue cannot be left dismissed as a cry in the wilderness. Otherwise a Naamdar will have to do what the Kaamdar could not. (IPA Service)